Dam safety in Albania to improve with EBRD financing

By EBRD  Press Office
@ebrd

With over €180 million invested in improving Albania’s power sector operation to date, the EBRD has now turned to boosting the country’s dam safety. A €12.7 million investment will upgrade Komani hydropower plant dam in the north of the country and is part of the dam safety programme, worth about €70 million, implemented by the Albanian government together with other international financial institutions.

Over 95 per cent of Albania’s electricity is produced by five hydropower plants on the rivers Drin and Matt. These plants were built over 25 years ago and concerns over dam safety and their ability to withstand extreme weather conditions were heightened after floods in 2009 and 2010 in north-western Albania.  Over 12,000 people were evacuated and areas of farmland were inundated in the floods, which saw the river Drin rise to its highest level in over a century.

Grants worth CHF 1.6 million from the  Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) funded a feasibility study to identify safety hazards and deficiencies at dams and to prepare urgent investments.  The EBRD financing will support investments such as rockfall protection measures that will improve the safety of the Komani hydropower dam.

“This project will bring the dam safety of one of the main hydropower plants in Albania up to modern standards.  We are coordinating this investment with other international financial institutions, so that dam safety needs throughout Albania are fully met,” said Fabio Serri, Head of the EBRD Resident Office in Albania.

The project will also support the establishment of a modern water alarm system both at the main alarm centre in the capital city, Tirana, and at the hydropower plant.

“We thank the EBRD and other international financial institutions and donors involved in upgrading the dam safety in Albania, which is a high priority for the Albanian government,” said Ridvan Bode, Albania’s Minister of Finance.

The EBRD has invested about €710 million in the past 20 years in Albania in various sectors of the country’s economy, mobilising additional investments of over €1.6 billion from other sources of financing.